Security operatives in Mbarara City on Monday morning closed down on all businesses and offices, they claim were violating the presidential directives on Covid19.
Streets of Mbarara City and its outskirts remained empty as vehicles were impounded and people forced to get out of the city.
This crackdown started last week in Masaka City, where Fred Bamwine, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) ordered all shops and motorists to close their businesses for failure to observe the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
Bamwine confirmed that boda-bodas kept carrying passengers normally at the risk of spreading Covid-19 in the city.
According to Lt. Col James Mwesigye, the Resident City Commissioner (RCC), the operation was against all shops that have adamantly refused to observe the SOPs.
“Though shops were allowed to open and continue operating, they had to follow the SOPs including washing and wearing masks, so today’s operation was on all shop owners who have adamantly refused to follow the Covid-19 SOPs yet they gather so many people”. Mwesigye said.
With a war when the enemy is strong, you also adjust to the required force but when the enemy is weak you use measurable force. We have talked and sensitized people on radios and TVs, meaning that those who were closed are those who have adamantly refused to follow guidelines, Mwesigye further explained.
“We began with sensitization to follow the SOPs so when they refused what do we do? We are not closing them permanently, we are closing them so that they begin observing SOPs” he added.
However, during the tight operations, all shops, salons and offices whether enforcing SOPs or not were not spared; it is only supermarkets and financial institutions that were excused to operate in the heart of Mbarara City.
The operation was conducted in areas of Nyamitanga, Katete, Kamukuzi and within the middle of Mbarara City.
Mwesigye insists, the temporary crackdown is a warning to all businesses. They risk closure in the next 42 days if they don’t observe SOPs.
“Talking is done, we are not closing them permanently but this was a warning that if they don’t do what is necessary to save people’s lives; we are closing them totally” he emphasized.
Doreen Atwine, one of the shop attendants said, she is depressed on how to earn a living after the crack down on her business.
“I had just finished paying rent of Shs 300,000 now where do you think I will get the next payment for rent payment? What will my two kids feed on?” Atwine angrily asked.
Mwesigye says the cumulative number of Covid-19 patients in Mbarara City stands at 976, 419 admissions and 258 were discharged.
“The situation is alarming because Mbarara Hospital admits more than 20 people every day. We are second to Kampala, so if we don’t enforce these SOPs everybody will die” says Mwesigye.
He also insists that no private vehicle will be allowed to move. Curfew time implementation is still ongoing to effectively enforce the guidelines of the Ministry of works and SOPs.
By press time, police in Sheema district headed by RDC Frank Besigye Kyereere was also busy closing all shops and other related businesses in the Municipality.
In Fort Portal City, police was also planning to implement the same crackdown measures despite the presidential directives clearly allowing shops to operate normally.
Buy your copy of theCooperator magazine from one of our countrywide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news